Be.jazz drew my attention to an interesting article by David Hajdu about John Zorn and the Downtown New York City music scene. Hadju has written well received books about Billy Strayhorn and Bob Dylan, and takes an interesting and not all together positive view of Zorn:
"Zorn is an exceptional artist, without question, because he prizes and seeks exceptionalism above all. This is not to say that he is exceptionally good at his art. What he is good at--so very good as to suggest a kind of genius--is being exceptional. Unfortunately, uniqueness is not an aesthetic value; it is a term of classification. To say that Zorn is one of a kind, as he certainly is, is to ignore the larger matters of his nature as an artist and, more significantly, the nature of his work, much of which is thin and gimmicky, and some of which is elementally corrupt."
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